|Sylvester Gray for the win! Completes my 1989 Hoops set.|
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Posted by jaygross
As many of you who have been reading the SCN blog may have seen I have been collecting the signed 1989 Hoops set. That Hoops set was released with 2 series (total 353 cards) and had marked beginning of a huge explosion in popularity of basketball cards. It has a very distinctive look with huge white borders and the player's name in black block letters (although some of the pictures are dark).
The set is loaded with lots of great HOF players, 8 coaches in the HOF (Willis Reed, Wes Unseld, Rick Adelman, Pat Riley, Chuck Daly, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson), and so many other great players from my childhood in the 1980's. The only card that I believe is impossible to get is Ricky Berry, who passed away in August 1989 (before the set was released).
Collecting in the early 90's was different than it is today. I was able to get some bigger stars TTM who stopped signing long ago - like Kevin McHale, Karl Malone, Clyde Drexler, Joe Dumars, Reggie Miller, Kiki Vandeweghe, Xavier McDaniel, Tom Chambers, Dennis Johnson, Willis Reed, Wes Unseld, Pat Riley, Alex English, Akeem Olajuwon, Sidney Moncrief, Don Nelson and Wayman Tisdale.
That one card I needed
I have been one card away from finishing my signed set for probably 8 years. The last card I needed is the elusive Sylvester Gray, who played half of a season with the expansion Miami Heat in 1988 and then had a long career overseas. I had never seen an authentic copy of the card signed (bad forgeries pop up on ebay from time to time).
So imagine my surprise + excitement when I got an unexpected envelope from a SCN member with this beauty:
I love so many things about running SCN, but this has to be one of the most awesome things I have seen over the years. For another member to generously help me out with finding it and then sending it to me as a surprise so I could finish my set is just amazing. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
Tougher guys to get
Rookies from the 1988 Draft
I was really excited about the 1988 draft after Danny Manning led Kansas to an incredible NCAA tournament run (beating Oklahoma with Harvey Grant, Stacy King, and Mookie Blaylock). The Clippers were awful and had 3 lottery picks, I saw Rik Smits play live at Marist and he was HUGE at 7'4, Rex Chapman and Derrick Chievous were my two favorite gunners, and I was excited about Brian Shaw coming to my Celtics. Some of these guys played on the 1988 US Olympic team (Willie Anderson, Hersey Hawkins, Dan Majerle, Danny Manning, Mitch Richmond, Charles Smith), which won a Bronze medal and it was the last time the US sent a team without pros.
I thought it would be fun to show the players drafted in the first round in draft order (Bucks pick #14 Jeff Grayer was not in the set, Kings #18 pick Ricky Berry could not be gotten):
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